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Electronics Production | August 01, 2011

Qualcomm facility invests in equipment

A Qualcomm facility in San Diego, California, has installed a 2nd selective soldering machine, a KISS‐103, supplied by ACE Production Technologies.
The facility is primarily a new product development center characterized by high mix, low volume production of new products for customers within and outside of Qualcomm.

Qualcomm purchased their first ACE selective soldering machine, a fully automated KISS‐104, approximately four years ago. The new KISS‐103, equipped with ACE’s new solder pot exchanger Service Cart and other innovations, was recently added to provide added production capability and flexibility to the process, according to Greg Balas, Manufacturing Engineer at the Qualcomm facility.

“As our assemblies became denser, the wave soldering machines with custom fixturing – expensive and time‐consuming ‐ that we had been using for post‐soldering attachment simply could not handle the high‐density,” Balas says. “We switched to hand soldering, but the problem with hand soldering was variability or lack of consistency associated with a manual process.”

“In our facility we’re running on average a dozen to two dozen different assemblies in a single day,” he says. “So speed in changeover and ease of setup, or how fast we can get back up to speed after changeover, are very important factors,” Balas says. “Hand soldering has the advantage of not requiring fixturing or tooling, but we needed the consistency that can only be provided by selective soldering. Our new ACE machine complements the capabilities of our first machine and has made our production flow smoother, with fewer defects and faster, more efficient changeover and processing.”

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